Dr. Barbara Strum to try or not to try

« Dr. Barbara Sturm’s unique, science-based products have achieved cult status with skincare devotees worldwide, and her philosophy of healing the skin has challenged both aggressive approaches and the conventional wisdom. » Well lets if the formulas are coherent with the message.

Dr. Barbara Sturm cleansers $70 150ml

This cleanser is interesting because it contains no surfactants. Surfactants are a type of molecule that has a hydrophobic group (= likes fat) and a hydrophilic group (likes water). This cleanser is also oil-free. The second ingredient is aloe vera, panthenol, and urea. They are hydrating and skin-soothing. 

There is also a lacto-fermented extract from Portulaca. 

Portulaca is known as Purslane which is an edible plant. This plant is rich in antioxidants especially glutathione. Glutathione is a tri-peptide with potent antioxidant activities in vivo. But we don’t know much about its activity topically.

Supposedly, the fermentation process break downs some of the molecules in the extract. This extract is used between 1 to 10% according to the manufacturer (https://www.in-cosmetics.com/__novadocuments/231641?v=635956183413000000).

This extract is used in many of Dr. Barbara Strum’s products but lacks any scientific pieces of evidence. This doesn’t mean that it is good nor bad. However, due to the lack of scientific study how can they know what is the best concentration to use? 

According to Dr. Barbara Strum, this cleanser has a pH5 which is amazing. It is buffer with citric acid. After the preservative system (Benzyl Alcohol and phenoxyethanol mainly) we found salicylic acid. This is excellent for acne-prone skin even though I’ve never found it that efficient in a cleanser I tend to recommend in a toner. 

I am worried that this cleanser barely cleanses by looking at the formula. For the morning it is excellent but at the end of the day, you need a good cleanser. Check my video for recommendations and the links at the end of this post. Overall I don’t find that the ingredients but it does not justify the price. 

Dr. Barbara Sturm Balancing toner $75 150ml

I love a good hydrating toner to replenish the skin barrier with humectants before your moisturizers. There are also great to balance the skin pH to its healthy state pH5-5.5 This formula is short and contains the fermented extract from Portulaca, panthenol, xylitylglucoside and hyaluronic acid. Nothin wrong here but again the price point is very high for nothing extraordinary. I offer alternatives in my video.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser $75 75g

This is an enzyme peel in a powder form. Enzymes are essential to life. There are big proteins that catalyze bio-reactions. In a nutshell, enzymes help our skin to do their job. This peel contains lipase and Subtilisin. Lipases are naturally present in our gut to cut and digest lipids such as oil. In the skin, it will digest the lipids in the stratum corneum (the skin barrier). Subtilisin is an enzyme that cuts a variety of protein here in the skin it will cleave the keratin. 

I think that this powder contains a gentle detergent (Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate) to potentialize the action of enzymes. 

This formula looks very promising and is out of the box. It is pricey but this is not a standard peel. If you have the money go for it.  

Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Acid $300.00 30ml

This serum is a jock. It is an extract of Portulaca, hyaluronic acid and a bunch of preservatives. In the market, there is a zillion of excellent hyaluronic acid for a fraction of the cost. 

Dr. Barbara Sturm Super anti-aging serum $350.00 30ml

In general, when you look at a formula and you find the preservatives pretty high up in the list of ingredients it is never a good sign and here is the case with phenoxyethanol. This serum contains extract of Portulaca, hyaluronic acid, pullan, a red algae extract (Porphyridium Cruentum Extract)… 

Pullan is interesting. It is a polymer made of a sugar that forms a film on the skin but other than that there is nothing amazing here and it doesn’t justify this crazy price for sure. Also, where are the anti-aging ingredients?

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face cream $215.00 50ml

Octyldodecanol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate and shea butter are the main emollients here. In terms of humectant, we have the excellent glycerin, sorbitol, propanediol mainly. 

We find the Portulaca extract that is featured in almost all her products and again the preservatives pretty high in the ingredient list. 

Overall the formula looks good but again the price is insanely high. 

Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun drops SPF50

This sunscreen is a fluid sunscreen in a dropper. The filtering system is excellent as it filters all the spectrum. It is an EU sunscreen so it has to follow the strict EU guidelines. 

The filters are octinoxate (UVB), Uvinul A plus (UVAI and some UVAII), Uvinul T150 (UVB), ensulizole (UVB) and Tinosorb S (UVB, UVAII, UVAI). 

I only recommend SPF50+ here, so this is one is not enough in my book likely the UVA protection will be less than with an SPF50+. Also, the description of this sunscreen is outrageous! It is recommended to use undiluted or mixed with your moisturizer! What a shame especially from a doctor. With sunscreen, it is extremely important to apply an even layer all over the face undiluted! 

My thoughts 

What I appreciate with Dr. Barbara Sturm’s line is that all products are fragrance, essential oils and irritant-free. It is unlikely that you will react to one of her products. 

If you follow her routine such as the enzymatic cleanser, the toner, the hyaluronic serum and then the face cream it will make your skin looks healthy and plumb. I am almost sure of it. But you can do it better with affordable products. 

There is a striking lack of ingredient with scientific evidence which is again unethical when it is coming from someone who advertises that she uses science… Overall it passes for me.   

Watch my video to know more.  

Thank you for your time. 


Affordable alternatives


💦 Toners

🍋 Acid

💧 Hyaluronic serum

🧴 Moisturizers

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